A couple of years ago our church had two pastors. Then, one day out of the blue, these two men, that had been friends for over 10 years, decided they couldn't stand each other. To this day I will never know why.
One pastor left and one third of the congregation. He later formed his own church. Then, last Christmas, the remaining pastor, "heard God calling him to teach." He left the church and took a job teaching.
Since that time the church board of directors has, in fits and starts, been looking for a new pastor. We recently learned they have chosen an individual well known all. He is an evangelist that has preached in our church from time-to-time. Should he become the pastor, we will leave and go to another church. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Karol first learned of it and called me on my cell phone. She sounded almost in tears. Fortunately, his appointment must come before the whole church for a vote to make him the pastor.
It looks like it is time for me to put my public speaking skills to work. I am presuming they will allow people to speak their mind before the vote. I need to put together a speech that will influence the outcome.
I've been reading Andrew Sullivan's Blog on the opposition to same sex marriage. A couple of thoughts. Andy is a self-proclaimed homosexual and an advocate of same sex marriage.
So called, "straights" consider homosexuality a behavior not an attribute like race, hair color, or height. You seem to take the position that homosexuality is NOT a behavior, but an attribute.
Let us presume for the moment that “straight” and homosexual behaviors are pre-wired into us and we cannot do otherwise. Then one shouldn’t be surprised at the hostility to homosexuality. “Straights” don’t have the option to operate otherwise, just as homosexuals cannot act like heterosexuals. If we are all pre-wired, then why condemn what cannot be changed?
Now I don’t happen to believe that. I believe we all have temptations to do things. I would suggest that most of those leanings are not good. I believe it is our responsibility to not give in to our darker side, but to do what is right.
One other thought. If the courts do decide in Andy's favor, and I think that is likely, it may set off a storm that will not abate. The problem with having the courts set new law, is there is no public debate that results in a vote on the issue.
That’s been the problem with abortion. The Supreme Court made up new law to legalize abortion. Had someone asked the people who wrote the constitution if they intended that, I’m pretty sure they would have said no.
But the court decision was not a public debate that resulted in a vote to change things. It was a decree by nine sovereigns. The result has been a war that has raged to this day. It is a war, by the way, in which the pro-life group is making ground. I would expect abortion to be either eliminated or severely restricted in the next 10 years.
Should some sovereign decree same-sex marriage, the same type of war could well result.
This has gotten too long – I apologize. Still, I enjoy reading Andy's blog; I just skip over the yuckier parts. He's a pretty good wordsmith.
I went to sell a stock three weeks ago. However, instead of selling the stock, I inadvertently BOUGHT another slug of the stock. Dumb, dumb, dumb. At least it doesn't appear to have cost me any serious money yet. I guess I'll just let it ride and see what happens.
I've contended for a long time that people that seem to have all kinds of emotional problems need to help someone else. I've always felt that people who constantly complain are too self centered. Now a study confirms my recommendations.
"So I see they're giving Bush a hard time about the WMD. They ought to come here and see what we do, and what Saddam did to these people. This was a good thing to do."
- A Marine Colonel serving in Iraq
"This time I think the Americans are serious. Bush is not like Clinton. I think this is the end."
- Uday Hussein
Two weeks ago I offered, to our pastor, to read the lectionary scripture passage during the church service. I've timed it and it takes five minutes. I was told that decision would be the result of a discussion between the parties that plan the worship service.
Sitting in the worship service this morning, it occurred to me that they will either not respond to my offer or decline. Sermons are usually in the 40 minute range. I think today it was close to 50 minutes. IMHO, anyone who thinks then need 40 to 50 minutes to make their point, is not going to relinquish five minutes for a scripture reading.
Still, I feel this would be a good addition to the worship service, so I will not give up lightly. I'll give them a couple of weeks and then remake my offer. I can be a real persistent thorn in one's side when I want to be.
After all, "No" is merely the first counter-offer. It is not the final answer.
Trimmed the hedge up today. It's a Privet hedge and so requires constant trimming to keep it under control. The only problem is, I really need to straighten it out. It's starting to get wavy.
I think I know how I'm going to do this. I think I'll get one of those laser pointers and mount it on a tripod at one end of the hedge. At the other end I'll just mount a white target. That's just to help me line up the laser pointer. Then when I'm cutting the hedge, I'll just wave my gloved hand around until I see the red laser dot. That way I'll know where the line is as I cut along the length of the hedge.
But if you've got a better idea, I'm ready to listen.
That's a project for the future, however. Still, whenever I stand at the end and sight down it, it bugs me.
Charles Krauthammer assesses Bush's accomplishments in the middle east since 9/11/01. He enumerates at least 12 - all to the better. Along the way he mentions that Iraqi's currently have the freest press and speech in the entire Arab world.
Back in April I worried how we will get the Iraqi's to live together. I mused that maybe their joint suffering would bind them as one people.
This from Paul Wolfowitz on 7/24 after visiting Iraq, "We had a very moving meeting with the members of the town council and a few other independents that had been invited. When it came the turn of one old Arab to speak, in his black robes with the classic gold embroidery and a white kaffiyeh with a black band around his head, he began to talk about how "it wasn't just the Kurds who were oppressed by Saddam; we were all oppressed by Saddam." He thanked the president and the coalition forces for their liberation, and I thought, "Okay, and now comes 'we Arabs deserve consideration as well.'" And the most extraordinary thing was, this old Arab said the Kurds were driven out of their homes, and they're entitled to their homes back. I don't know if that's representative, but it was powerful."
Mel Gibson's "The Passion" looks like it will be a movie worth seeing. I'm sure it will stir up a storm of protest, just like the original events did. Why should we expect it to be any different now?
A recent study finds that girls who grow up without fathers are much more likely to become pregnant as teenagers as girls in stable family settings. In some cases the rate can be eight times greater! That's a big difference.
I'm reading a book, "How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less" by Nicholas Boothman. I've always felt that people skills were as important if not more important than technical skills. Not only does he agree with me, smart man, he goes on to show you how to develop them.
Odai and Qusai Hussein have assumed ambient temperature. This is great news! If I was Paul Bremmer, I'd embalm their bodies and then put them on display in downtown Baghdad. Can Saddam's capture or death be far behind?
Another note of how bad things are in Iraq - Not! Where is the news media on this? They seem to be trying their best to make sure we loose the peace. For them, the cup is not just half empty, there's barely any water in it at all.
"If you look at where we are today and compare it to where we were on the day the Clinton Administration left office: we've removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan; we've removed from power Saddam Hussein; we're removing our troops from Saudi Arabia; we've established new bases in the Gulf in stable, small countries; Jordan is secure; Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon are acquiescent and very quiet; and there's a revolution under way in Iran. I've named every country between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean. This is the most dangerous, hostile region in the world -- and it has been remarkably changed. And I should add there's also a peace process in the Middle East."
- Charles Krauthammer
A new study shows that eating pizza once a week can protect against certain cancers. I think I'll order out for some anti-cancer food now.
An article in the New York Post by an Iraqi in Baghdad tells the truth. Why is it that the western press see Iraq going to h___ in a hand basket? Iraq is not heaven on earth, but read the article. It almost brings tears to you eyes.
We find that Kim Jong-il spent the Iraq war moving from bunker to bunker. Seems he figured that, as one of the charter members of the Axis of Evil, he was next. If he's learned anything, it is that we'll take him out, when he least expects it.
We haven't had a tape from bin Laden since before the Iraq war. A few Saddam tapes, but no UBL. Could it be UBL has assumed cave temperature.
From the Washington Times, "The royals are also drafting new regulations that the Wahhabi clergy will most probably consider sacrilegious. The new rules would actually remove elements of Wahhabi doctrine--Islam's strictest interpretation of the Koran--as it is presently taught in mosques and schools around the kingdom." Maybe the effects of the bombing in Saudi Arabia are bearing fruit.
The Associated Press reports that "hundreds of Syrian troops have begun dismantling bases in Lebanon, officials said Tuesday, moving to reduce Syria's military profile in the country." Could this possibly be because there are 170,000 US troops in neighboring Iraq.
I've been feeling for some time that our church service needs more - something? I don't know what. I came across what is call the Lectionary on Ken Collins' site. It has weekly scriptural readings. I thought it would be nice to do that in our church. I, therefore, emailed the pastor and said I'd volunteer to do that. I sent my email out Sunday night. So far no response. If I don't get a response by Wednesday, I'll resend it. My take is, I'll be turned down. Most people are resistant to change, but we'll see.
The bible has some very powerful words. I'd like to see if I can do them justice.
I was watching a segment on the history channel about Lewis and Clark's expedition. It suddenly occurred to me, this was just like Star Trek. They were on a journey just like Captain Kirk and his crew. They had to make friends with new people they encountered. They were well armed, in case they had to fight. They were using some new technology - some worked and some didn't. They were also on their own and had to survive as best they could.
Went to Home Depot today. When I went to check out, I was directed to a checkout counter. To my surprise, it was a self checkout counter. You scan your own merchandise, tell the system you're done, press the credit card button, swipe your card, sign it, and walk out with your goods.
I don't know if this is a good idea or a bad one. I wonder how they prevent people from just dropping an item into a bag without scanning it? They probably have a video camera on each checkout counter.
The whole world is becoming self serve.
I had a late night at a client site. Left his place at about 20:15. It's about an hour and 45 minutes drive home. About an hour plus into my return trip, traffic comes to a stop. There is a police car with its lights flashing and road construction equipment and some guy with a flashlight and handheld stop sign. I'm sitting there for a couple of minutes. There is only one car in front of me. The guy with the flashlight and stop sign walks towards my car. I thought, "Maybe he's going to direct me to some detour."
He says, "Hi Sir," while he shines the flashlight on his face. He says, "Remember me? I'm the one that gave you a ticket the other day."
I thought, "Good grief! This is NOT the person that I really wanted to meet again. How did he recognize my car in the dark? Or me sitting in it?"
It was late, I was tired, and I didn't respond as effusively as I should have. In retrospect, I should have been more on the ball.
I'm always looking to expand my business. Towards that end, I want to get my name and occupation to as many people as possible. Here was someone that probably meets a lot of people. I should have given him my business card.
To the true salesperson, EVERYONE is a prospect.
On today it is good to remember the events that transpired 227 years ago.
WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.
Let us not forget the sacrifices made that we might enjoy the liberties we do today. As Irving Berlin said and Kate Smith sang:
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:
God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains to the prairies,
To the ocean white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home!
Happy fourth of July!
I'm driving to a client site. I stop at the stop sign and then continue on. I go through my usual shift pattern, 1-2-3-5. As I do I notice a COP car parked in what looks like someone's driveway.
A thought passes through my mind, "I wonder what he's doing there? Maybe he's taking a lunch break." A quarter mile down the road, I turn into the client's parking lot. As I turn off the engine and start to get out, the police car pulls up behind me with his lights flashing. I'm thinking, "I wonder why he's here."
I step out of my car as he does and we meet halfway. He introduces himself and ask to see my license, owner's card and insurance card. He also announces I was doing 48 mph and the speed limit on the road is 35 mph.
Now I know why he's here - it's for me! Arrgghh! He goes back to his car while I finish entering my time into my logbook and getting my attaché case out of the car.
He motions me back to his vehicle. He tells me that the speeding ticket will be two points on my driver's license. He then says, "Were you wearing your seat belt?"
I respond, "I always wear my seat belt." He then says, "Let me explain. If I give you a ticket for speeding it's two points on your driver's license. If I give you a ticket for not wearing your seat belt, there are no points on your license. Let me ask you again, we're you wearing your seat belt?"
The light bulb goes on in my mind. "No, I was not wearing my seat belt", I answer. "Very well", he says and continues to right.
We chat while he does his thing. He asks if I'm a salesperson and I tell him I'm a geek consultant. He says his brother is a geek and works in Cherry Hill. He tells me the people in the neighborhood have been complaining about how fast people drive on this road, and he has write a lot of tickets.
He finished his paper work and hands me the ticket. He bids me goodbye and drives away. I walk into the building with very mixed feelings. I could have been worse, but it's still going to cost me $42!